Search results for "San Francisco"

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Breaking the Mold

2018 Best of Design Awards winners for New Materials
2018 Best of Design Award for New Materials: Cyclopean Cannibalism Designer: Matter Design Location: Seoul, South Korea

By translating an ancient method of masonry into a digital procedure, Matter Design developed Cyclopean Cannibalism as a sustainable alternative to the standard practice of landfilling demolition debris. This project illustrates how the carcasses of previous buildings could be reused as a new material. To do this, rubble is scanned and input into a digital algorithm that sorts random shapes. Each stonelike component is carved by a robotic arm and recomposed into a new construction. In today’s urban context, we generate unprecedented quantities of waste. In order to more intelligently reconsider existing building stock, the profession could learn from cyclopean construction. Can our future cities digest themselves?

Honorable Mentions Project Name: One Thousand Museum Designers: Zaha Hadid Architects and ODP Architects Location: Miami Project Name: Clastic Order Designer: T+E+A+M Location: San Francisco
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Are You Leddy For It?

2018 Best of Design Awards winners for Adaptive Reuse
2018 Best of Design Award winner for Urban Design: San Francisco Art Institute at Fort Mason Designer: Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects Location: San Francisco Located on the edge of San Francisco Bay, Fort Mason Pier 2 has been transformed from a historic army warehouse into a satellite campus for the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI). This adaptive reuse project preserves the industrial integrity of the landmark concrete-and-steel structure while supporting the school’s pedagogical goals. The iconic shed was restored with an integrated sustainable building system, working with the existing building structure and materials. A photovoltaic solar system was mounted on the building’s gabled roof. The design interweaves the historic and contemporary, preserving the dramatic, light-filled industrial structure to create 160 studios, workshops, flexible teaching spaces, public galleries, and a media theater. Honorable Mentions  Project Name: Empire Stores Designer: S9 Architecture Location: Brooklyn, New York Project Name: Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep Designer: JGMA Location: Waukegan, Illinois
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Tearing Down the House

San Francisco orders historic Neutra home be rebuilt after being torn down
Preservationists in Twin Peaks, San Francisco, were aghast this past December when it came to light that much of a 1935 home designed by Richard Neutra had been illegally demolished months prior. Owner Ross Johnston had purchased the 1,300-square-foot 49 Hopkins Avenue—also known as the Largent House—for $1.7 million with plans to replace it with a 4,000-square-foot mega-mansion in 2017. Only the home’s garage door and frame still stand today, but on December 13, the City Planning Commission unanimously ruled that Johnston must build an exact replica of the house, as well as a plaque detailing the building’s history. The Largent House was one of only five buildings designed by Neutra in San Francisco. The two-story, whitewashed-concrete-block and redwood-timber building made ample use of glass bricks to let in natural light and included a greenhouse-like glass topper to enclose an indoor pool. The plague of illegal demolitions by San Franciscan homeowners hoping to build big or flip the property is widespread, and punitive repercussions are rare. The city is in the middle of a housing crisis, and when faced with the option of forbidding offenders from building on the demoed lot, the Planning Commission has let homeowners off the hook. Not this time. Johnson applied for a demolition permit and permission to build his new house two months after the home was razed, arguing that a fire in 1968 and remodels throughout the 1980s and ’90s had removed the home’s architectural significance. Rather than flipping the plot of land, Johnson claims that he was only building something that could accommodate his six-person family and that the demo was undertaken for safety and quality of life reasons. The Planning Commission disagreed, and in a 5-0 vote, ordered Johnson to rebuild the Largent House. Planning Commissioner Dennis Richards hopes that the move, along with the recently proposed Housing Preservation and Expansion Reform Act, which harshly penalizes illegal demolitions, would help curb speculation in the housing market. “The fact that it was a unanimous vote should send a message to everyone that is playing fast and loose that the game is over,” Peskin told the San Francisco Chronicle. “We want to preserve iconic, historic structures, but even more important, we want to protect our reservoir of more affordable housing stock. You want a 1,300-square-foot house to be worth what a 1,300-square-foot house is worth, rather than a mega-mansion.” Unfortunately, this isn’t a shocking story in 2018, as a number of architecturally significant homes, including a Venturi Scott Brown–designed house in Pittsburgh, faced under-the-radar demolitions and renovations.
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CMY-Play

2018 Best of Design Awards winners for Young Architects
2018 Best of Design Awards winner for Young Architects: Runaway Designer: SPORTS Location: Santa Barbara, California Runaway is a mobile pop-up pavilion first developed by SPORTS for the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara. With the goal of bringing art to underrepresented neighborhoods, three self-similar, open-structure objects were designed to reference the foggy and hazy climate of California’s coastal region. The collection’s orientation and composition is intended to be rearranged at different sites. In each deployment, the project generates public space and arts programming for underserved communities. Runaway illustrates the potential for small architectural objects to add a robust and ephemeral layer to urban centers—one that repositions the city as a series of small episodic moments rather than grand architectural interventions. Honorable Mentions Project name: Noodle Soup Designer: office ca Location: Lake Forest, Illinois Project name: Malleable Monuments Designer: The Open Workshop Location: San Francisco
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More Than Skin Deep

2018 Best of Design Awards winners for Interior — Healthcare
2018 Best of Design Award for Interior — Healthcare: NYDG Integral Health & Wellness Designer: Brandon Haw Architecture Location: New York Situated in Manhattan’s Ladies’ Mile historic district, the NYDG Integral Health & Wellness is the new, 7,000-square-foot flagship facility for the New York Dermatology Group. Eight blood work and nutrition treatment rooms, two cryotherapy suites, and a shop are integrated within a single loft space. Brandon Haw Architecture developed the interior project as a space within a space. A central, freestanding enclosure—clad in wave-pattern fiberglass panels—contains all facilities while making room for a perimeter walkway, allowing patients and staff to circulate alongside magnificent, light-filled windows. Treatment-room walls were custom-built in Italy using yacht hull technology. Small details like bronze trims, door pulls, and cabinetry were introduced to complement dark reclaimed wood block floors. Honorable Mention Project Name: Studio Dental II Designer: Montalba Architects Location: San Francisco
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Flat Living

2018 Best of Design Awards winners for Interior — Residential
2018 Best of Design Award for Interior — Residential: 15th St Designer: Mork Ulnes Architects Location: San Francisco

By converting an uninhabitable attic into a unified and light-filled volume, Mork Ulnes Architects gave new life to a 1907 Victorian flat. The formerly compartmentalized house was transformed into an expansive home centered on collective living. To host a growing family, the gabled attic level was lightly divided into bedrooms, thanks to a series of partial-height walls. A double-height stair atrium cuts into the center of the building, linking the newly habitable attic to the levels below. The attic’s wood framework is a graphic echo of the original roofline within the expanded building shell. This framework language carries throughout the project in casework details, windows, guardrails, and the kitchen.

Honorable Mentions Project Name: Fort Green Place Designer: Matter of Architecture Location: Brooklyn, New York Project Name: Little House. Big City. Designer: Office of Architecture Location: Brooklyn, New York
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Hole-ier Than Thou

Possible source of failure discovered for San Francisco’s Transbay Center
Nearly three months after a pair of cracked steel beams were discovered at the Pelli Clarke Pelli–designed Transbay Transit Center in San Francisco, crews investigating the structural failures have begun to piece together what might have gone awry. According to recent investigations, the beams in question were not only fabricated with imperfections that rendered the steel more brittle and weaker than specified, but they were also altered by the fabricators before they were installed in a way that differed from the shop drawing designs that had been initially approved for the project, The Mercury News reported. The changes include the addition of so-called “weld access” or “weld termination” holes along the web of each joist to make installation easier. While it is still unknown exactly which type of openings were made in the beams—there are key design differences between the two types of holes—the resulting change is thought to have created an imbalance in how the loads from the building above were delivered down to the transit center’s foundations. As the center came under regular use, the buses and crowds that occupied its upper levels put enormous strain on the compromised beams, resulting in the debilitating fissures. The Mercury News reported that Stockon, California–based Herrick Corporation, the company responsible for fabricating the steel beams in question, prefers to refer to the openings as “weld termination” holes because those openings are less strictly regulated than “weld access” holes, which have more stringent design and finishing requirements. Design engineers Thornton Tomasetti have not provided comment regarding the nature of the openings in question. Robert Hazleton, president of Herrick Corporation told The Mercury News, “It may sound like a small thing, but it does change how you finish the inside of the hole,” adding, “There are less specific requirements for a weld termination hole.” The stresses resulting from the new openings compounded the inadequacies of the steel members, according to the report, which also highlighted a lack of specificity regarding these types of failures in San Francisco’s building codes as a key oversight in the building’s design. Potential fixes for the beams include welding supplemental steel plates to each member to improve their rigidity, though the Transbay Joint Powers Authority, the public agency tasked with building and maintaining the terminal, will not have a specific plan for repairs or an estimated date for reopening the $2.2 billion complex until January 2019. Until a final cause and remedy are found, San Francisco commuters will continue to use the temporary bus terminal created during construction of the Transbay Center for their transportation needs.
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Building Wall and Building Wall Quickly

Weekend edition: Amazon gets grilled, Brutalism gets preserved, and more
Missed some of this week's architecture news, or our tweets and Facebook posts from the last few days? Don’t sweat it—we’ve gathered the week’s must-read stories right here. Enjoy! Stunning new photos document I.M. Pei’s early brutalist museum I.M. Pei's first museum design, The Everson Museum of Art, is a big, brutalist structure that's celebrating its 50th birthday in Syracuse, New York. Chicago aims to preserve the vernacular architecture in its largest Mexican-American community The Commission on Chicago Landmarks has approved a preliminary designation for a dense array of vernacular buildings in the heart of Pilsen. Against all odds, progressive land-use reforms are taking root in American cities With Minneapolis, San Francisco, and Los Angeles moving forward with land-use reforms, the thinking behind how American cities work could soon change. DHS says it is “building wall and building wall quickly” in bizarre statement In an odd press release, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security touts quick construction of the U.S.-Mexico border wall key sections. New York’s proposal for Amazon’s HQ2 is much worse than we thought The concessions from the city have raised eyebrows and triggered a trio of City Council hearings on the terms of the deal.
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Expensify Your Life

2018 Best of Design Awards winners for Interior — Workplace
2018 Best of Design Award for Interior — Workplace: Expensify Headquarters Designer: ZGF Architects Manufacturer: Pure+FreeForm Location: Portland, Oregon Expensify’s new headquarters is lodged in Portland’s National Landmark First National Bank. ZGF Architects collaborated with architectural metal design studio Pure+FreeForm to develop a design concept that reflects the company’s flexible work ethos. Office spaces are spread throughout the historic building’s four-story Art Deco atrium. Where seating is not assigned, conference rooms cannot be reserved, and employees choose workspaces depending on their current task or mood. A pair of adjacent conference rooms are suspended above the bank building’s main entrance, connected by an oak and steel monumental staircase. Other spaces include a speakeasy salon, a midcentury boardroom, a living room area, and a custom 41-foot- long communal table. Honorable Mentions  Project Name: CANOPY Jackson Square Designer: M-PROJECTS Location: San Francisco Project Name: Dollar Shave Club Headquarters Designer: Rapt Studio Location: Marina del Rey, California
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Park No More

Against all odds, progressive land-use reforms are taking root in American cities
With Minneapolis, San Francisco, San Diego, and Los Angeles moving forward with progressive land-use and transportation reforms last week, much of the conventional thinking behind how American cities work could soon be upended.  As the converging threats of climate change, housing unaffordability, and pollution continue to hamstring the country’s urban areas, cities across the country are taking matters into their own hands by enacting bold but common-sense reforms in the face of federal and state inaction. For one, a groundbreaking comprehensive plan update in Minneapolis that would eliminate the city’s single-family zones took a step forward last week after two years of public debate and negotiations. The so-called 2040 Minneapolis Plan would make the city the first in the country to upzone all of its single-family residential neighborhoods to allow up to three dwelling units per lot. Under the 2040 initiative, the city will be able to re-establish a tradition of building what’s known as “missing middle” housing, the types of naturally affordable small- to medium-scale neighborhoods that make up the backbones of most American cities built before the 1950s. The plan is designed to break down racial and income disparities between neighborhoods in the city while allowing Minneapolis to absorb expected job and population growth over coming decades. Housing activists across the country are now looking to Minneapolis to see how the experiment plays out as efforts to enact similar policies pick up across the country, especially in Seattle, where a similar effort is gaining steam. In Oregon, a plan to eradicate single-family zoning in cities with 10,000 or more residents took a step forward this week. Aside from taking on exclusionary zoning, other cities, including Buffalo, San Francisco, and San Diego, are looking to eliminate off-street parking requirements to varying extents as they work to reclaim the enormous amount of space taken up by parked cars. In 2017, Buffalo became the first municipality in the country to totally eliminate parking requirements city-wide. The effort comes as part of a new zoning initiative that will bring what is known as a “form-based code” (FBC) to the city. As the name implies, FBCs typically regulate the overall geometries of urban areas by setting particular height limits, setbacks, and other design guidelines that can be followed regardless of use. The approach runs counter to more common use-based codes that carve cities up into monofunctional areas with residential, industrial, and commercial districts. FBCs are seen both as a way of re-establishing mixed-use neighborhoods while also creating contextual and preservation-friendly zones. With the update, Buffalo joins Denver, Las Vegas, and Miami, which have also recently enacted FBCs. Over in California, as the state’s new legislature takes up a series of bold housing reforms, San Diego Mayor Kevin Falconer is one step ahead with a proposal to scrap parking requirements for transit-adjacent areas. A new proposal would eliminate required parking for housing located within 1/2-mile from a transit stop, a change similar to a state-wide effort that was derailed last year. The latest effort, according to the mayor, will be geared toward lowering the cost of building housing—a single parking stall adds between $35,000 and $90,000 in costs per unit of housing in the state—while also resulting in shorter and less bulky buildings. San Francisco has taken the proposal one step further by moving to become the largest city in the country to scrap parking requirements outright. City Supervisor Jane Kim put forward a measure this month to totally eliminate the requirement city-wide in an effort to bolster the city’s climate bona fides and help reign in housing costs. But don’t call it a “parking ban,” developers will instead be allowed to build parking up to a maximum threshold if they deem it necessary. The yet-to-be-approved initiative could go into effect next year. Nearby, Sacramento is working to enact a city-wide transit-oriented development plan that would limit drive-through restaurants and gas stations and lower parking requirements within 1/2-mile from transit stops in the city. Change is afoot even in car-loving Los Angeles, where an ambitious but currently under-funded plan to build 28 large scale transit projects by the 2028 Olympic games has prompted local officials to consider so-called “congestion pricing.” No official plan has been unveiled, but the Los Angeles Metro CEO Phil Washington last week presented several ideas that could potentially fill the funding gap, including requiring drivers to pay for traveling in some of the city’s most congested areas. To boot, Curbed reported that during a presentation to the Metro Board of Directors, Washington even proposed using the fees generated from congestion pricing to make Los Angeles the first city in the United States to offer free public transportation every day of the year.
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Arguing Somantics

San Francisco paves the way for more density after passing Central SoMa Plan
After eight years of negotiations, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved the Central SoMa Plan on December 4, paving the way for a massive density increase, transportation improvements, and infrastructure investments in the heart of the city. The final plan for Central SoMa (South of Market), an area bounded by 6th Street to the west and 2nd Street to the east and Townsend Street to the south and Market Street to the North, ended up at over 1,600 pages (available here). The resultant “eco-district” is aiming to be socially, environmentally, and economically sustainable by 2040, in part by ensuring a diversity of businesses call the neighborhood home. Among the many changes, heights of 400-feet-tall are now on the table for certain developments. The plan allows for an additional 8,800 units of housing—33 percent of which must be affordable—as well as office space for up to 32,000 new jobs. $600 million will be allocated towards transportation infrastructure improvements, including mass transit options, sidewalks, and bike lanes. $64 million will go towards neighborhood schools to accommodate the influx of new residents, and an additional $185 million will go towards improving the area’s existing parks and public spaces, as well as the construction of new civic spaces. $100 million will go towards social programs and the upkeep of the neighborhood’s historic buildings. An unspecified amount of funding will be set aside for stormwater management and projects that will improve air quality, and the plan requires that Central SoMa transitions to non-greenhouse gas-based energy sources. Green roofs and walls will also be required. Hotels, retail, and entertainment options will be incentivized, and the plan looks to include light manufacturing in an Urban Mixed Use zone, which will create a buffer between the residential district and the Eastern Neighborhoods. Such an ambitious zoning update naturally met resistance. Before the December 4 vote, four lawsuits against the project had to first be dismissed by the Board of Supervisors. Community groups took the city to task over fears of gentrification and concerns over increased air pollution owing to the forecasted increases in traffic. A third group, the developer One Vassar LLC, filed a motion because they felt the plan wouldn’t increase housing enough in proportion to the amount of expected office space. Now that the Central SoMa plan has essentially been approved, height limits in the area will gradually rise over the next 22 years, first to 85 feet from the current 30, then to 130 feet, and finally 400 feet.
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Building Public Trust

How the Trust for Public Land is converting schoolyards to playgrounds
The third and last case study in this three-part series related to breaking borders is an interview with Carter Strickland, the New York State director of the Trust for Public Land (TPL), regarding the TPL's Schoolyard to Playground Program. The previous interview was with Deborah Marton of the New York Restoration Project. The Architect’s Newspaper: Can you give me some background on the Trust for Public Land Schoolyards program and how it breaks down borders? Carter Strickland: Since 1996, the Trust for Public Land (TPL), has been working out of its New York City office to partner with the City of New York and its Department of Education, to transform low-performing asphalt “play yards” into multi-benefit play spaces used by the schools during the school day and the local community after school, on weekends, and on holidays and vacations—including all summer. Our work breaks down the physical border between schools and the surrounding community by unlocking fences and opening a new neighborhood park and breaks down institutional and other borders by involving the community in the visioning and design process before the park is built, and in the programming and use of the park after it is built. AN: How do you choose where to work? CS: Over the last 20 years, TPL has worked with the city to identify asphalt schoolyards that offer little in play value—mostly barren, uninspiring asphalt yards that have no play equipment except for rundown basketball courts, that shed water from their impervious surfaces to the storm sewers and retain pools of water days after rainstorms, and, because they are black asphalt and absorb the sun’s rays, are increasing the urban heat island effect. These areas are surrounded by high wire mesh fences; they have all the charm of a prison yard. Worse, they were historically locked up, only used by the school, and not available to poor communities starved for open space. We look for principals, teachers, and custodians who are ready and willing to invite the community in. AN: How has the program grown? CS: That model was pursued on a small scale initially dependent on corporate funding, with 12 sites built in the first eight years. By 2004, the city had obtained mayoral control of the school system and was open to public-private partnerships, and TPL was able to formalize its partnership in an MOU with the NYC Department of Education and the NYC School Construction Authority to renovate schoolyards. The agreement provided 2 to 1 matching funds from the City of New York for the development of five playgrounds a year for five years, a pace maintained from 2004 to 2007. Former mayor Michael R. Bloomberg launched PlaNYC, a comprehensive sustainability plan for the city that adopted a goal of having every New Yorker live within a 10-minute walk of a park. To meet this goal the city encouraged creative approaches and especially cross-silo efforts, and the program really took off. The city entered into a partnership with TPL, which would serve as the community engagement intermediary with schools and neighbors, the Department of Education (which Mayor Bloomberg got control of from the State of New York), and the Department of Parks & Recreation, which designed and built the playground transformations, and approximately 150 more part-time schoolyards were transformed into full-time community playgrounds between 2007 and 2013. The PlaNYC work wrapped up but NYC Department of Environmental Protection stepped up as a funder for parks that absorb water to meet the goals of the NYC Green Infrastructure Plan, and many councilmembers and borough presidents sought to fund these mini-parks for the benefits of their communities. Recently, New York State has funded playgrounds in central Brooklyn as part of its comprehensive Vital Brooklyn health initiative. To date, TPL has worked with the city and various funders to build 197 green playgrounds, with 15 more in various stages of design and construction. AN: What are the environmental benefits of the initiative? CS: Since 2013, TPL has designed playgrounds to include green infrastructure elements such as rain gardens and absorbent turf fields, turning each of the spaces into a stormwater capture system. This has helped the city to meet its legal mandate to reduce stormwater runoff going onto the Combined Sewer System (CSS) in NYC that contributes to Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs) during rainstorms, a significant source of pollution to the nearby rivers and harbor waters. AN: Can you explain the design process? CS: TPL and its consultant landscape architects work with students, teachers, and neighbors to design a new, full-service playground for the school’s use, with new play equipment, sports fields with synthetic turf (it was determined that real grass would not survive even one week of intense use), a running track, performance areas, trees, and gardens with both flowers and places to grow vegetables. We spend five-to-ten weeks in the schools and community, with schoolchildren measuring the grounds, undertaking a sun/shade analysis, surveying the community for a recreational needs analysis, and learning about budget and other constraints. Our professionals turn this data and vision into alternative designs, which are then voted on by the school community. In this way, we transform not only public spaces but empower the community and students with knowledge and the experience of improving their neighborhood. AN: How is TPL using New York City as a prototype for work across the country? CS: The TPL Schoolyard to Playground model has been replicated in other cities in the US, including in Philadelphia, where it works with the very progressive Philadelphia water department in creating “water-smart” playground in both parks and at schools, as well as in Newark, New Jersey, and in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Epilogue Use of vacant lots for parks and community gardens is not a new idea. A March 28, 1896, article in Scientific American article titled “Cultivation of Vacant Lots by the Poor,” described prototypical gardens on New York City vacant lots intended to be a prototype for cities across the country. While the focus was on food production the social value cannot be discounted. An important difference between this work and that of the three leaders interviewed is an attitude that works across demographics and socioeconomic borders. They are opening up space and expanding attitudes about how we treat one another. This progressive move away from the anti-planning that Commissioner Silver described to an open and inclusive process is helping us move beyond postwar attitudes that created so many urban ills. Every organization is buttressed by new data, analysis, and design tools to make more public space available in the growing city. Parks Without Borders has very meaningful perceived and real physical impacts. To the extent that that streets, sidewalks, neighborhoods, and parks become more fluidly connected to the city, quality of life in neighborhoods across the five boroughs will improve. The work of NYRP in developing vacant lots and underused NYCHA property for community gardens has had a transformative impact on the social and economic well-being of underserved communities. At Trust for Public Land, opening up schoolyards has direct benefits on local neighborhoods, and engagement of kids, teachers, and principals in a design process that involves both form-making and environmental considerations will have a long-lasting impact on the people involved in the development process. The city of the future is evolving as a greener connected polis thanks to the efforts of these and other visionary leaders. Borders are opening on the city level as political rhetoric nationally suggests a grim alternative.